Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Rodney Crowell

Voila, An American Dream

Written and first recorded by Rodney Crowell (1978).
Hit version by The Dirt Band (US #13/C&W #58 1980).

From the wiki: “‘An American Dream’ is a song written by Rodney Crowell. He recorded it under the title ‘Voilá, An American Dream’ on his 1978 album Ain’t Living Long Like This with a backing vocal by Emmylou Harris, and released it as the B-side to that album’s single ‘(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I’. It was later recorded by The Dirt Band (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). It was released in November 1979 as the only single and title track from the album An American Dream. The Dirt Band’s version features a backing vocal from Linda Ronstadt.”


First recorded by Rodney Crowell (1980).
Also recorded by Guy Clark, songwriter (1981), George Strait (1982), The Marshall Tucker Band (1982).
Hit version by Ricky Skaggs (C&W #1/CAN #1 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Heartbroke’ was written by Guy Clark, and originally recorded by Rodney Crowell on his 1980 album But What Will the Neighbors Think. Clark, the following year, included his version of ‘Heartbroke’ on the album, The South Coast of Texas. Guests on that album included Crowell (as both performer and producer) , Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, and Vince Gill as well as numerous other well-known session players.

“The following year, ‘Heartbroke’ would be covered solo by Skaggs and released by him in July 1982 as the first single from his album Highways & Heartaches, becoming Skaggs’ third #1 on the US Country chart.

Ashes by Now

Written and first recorded by Rodney Crowell (US #37 1981).
Hit version by Lee Ann Womack (US #45/C&W #4 2000).

From the wiki: “”Ashes by Now” is a song written and recorded in 1981 by American country artist Rodney Crowell. Before its release as a single, it served as the B-side to his 1978 single ‘Elvira‘. A cover version was recorded by fellow country artist Lee Ann Womack. Womack’s rendition of the song was released in October 2000 as the second single from her third studio album, I Hope You Dance.


Written and first recorded by Dallas Frazier (US #72/CAN #27 1966).
Also recorded by Kenny Roger & The First Edition (1970), Rodney Crowell (C&W #95 1978).
Hit version by The Oak Ridge Boys (US #5/C&W #1/CAN #26/NZ #13 1981).

From the wiki: “Songwriter Dallas Frazier penned ‘Elvira’ in 1966 and included it as the title track of the album he released that year. A number of recording artists, most notably Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, also recorded the song through the years, to varying degrees of success. Frazier’s own version peaked at #72 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.

Shame on the Moon

Written and first recorded by Rodney Crowell (1981).
Also recorded by Tanya Tucker (1982).
Hit version by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (US #2/C&W #15/CAN #8 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Shame on the Moon’ is the title of a song written by Rodney Crowell (‘Voila, An American Dream‘, ‘Ashes By Now‘), and covered by Tanya Tucker on her album Changes and, soon after, by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. It was released in December 1982 as the lead single from Seger’s album The Distance. (Glenn Frey joins Seger on background harmony vocals on the song.) The song spent four weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached #15 on the Hot Country Singles chart in early 1983, marking Seger’s only Top 40 entry on the Country chart.”

Queen of Hearts

First recorded by Dave Edmunds (UK #11 1979).
Also recorded by Rodney Crowell (1980).
Other hit version by Juice Newton (US #2/C&W #14/CAN #8/AUS #8/NZ #7/DEN #6/SA #2 1981).

From the wiki: “‘Queen of Hearts’ is the title of a country-pop song written by Hank DeVito, the pedal steel guitarist in Emmylou Harris’ backing group The Hot Band. It was first recorded by Dave Edmunds on his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary: released as a single, it reached #11 in the UK that year.

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